With Camp NaNo beginning this weekend, I’ve been thinking more about characters and what makes them tick. I have a couple of favourite types of characters that I write a lot, and they tend to fit well together.
The first one is The Tortured Soul. This person has had to deal with some kind of trauma in their past which influences the way they interact with others in the present. They either can’t see their worth or have decided they don’t want to risk sharing themselves with anyone. There’s lots of potential for angst with this sort of character. Checa is this sort of character, and he’s noble with it.
The second type of character is the lonely one craving his own true love. He’s lonely even if he’s surrounded by friends and family, and he’s a romantic, whether he’s prepared to admit it or not. In a lot of cases, he’s just an ordinary guy with his own personality quirks, who knows himself reasonably well, but still learns a lot about himself as he gets to know the one who’ll be his love. Heath fits this character trope. He’s comfortable with who he is. He even knows who his true love is, but he can’t achieve nirvana because Checa won’t accept it. Even once they’ve Bonded, tied to each other for eternity, Heath doubts Checa’s commitment.
I thought I’d share a small excerpt from Warrior Pledge—one no one would have seen unless they’ve read the book. It shows some of Checa’s reluctance to be the hero, and some of what has made him who he is.
Pretto spent a few seconds fluffing his gown around his feet until he was satisfied with the drape of the fabric, and then he addressed Checa. “So, now we know there won’t be any interruptions—” He glared at Heath who’d opened his mouth to speak. When he once again subsided, Pretto continued. “Why don’t you tell me what you’re thinking, Captain.” Pretto clasped his hands together at his waist and tilted his head so the light caught his bouffant locks, setting the red threads aflame.
“I’m not the Silver Shining from Rock, and Heath isn’t going on any quest that will get him killed.” That should be clear enough.
After a lengthy pause that had Checa fighting not to fill the void with more words and Heath fidgeting on the sofa, Pretto spoke again. Instead of the commanding baritone he usually issued orders with, the old man’s voice was soft and persuasive. “Why aren’t you the Silver?”
Checa paced, needing the physical activity to keep his anger and anxiety in check. “I wasn’t born with silver eyes. My eyes aren’t silver—they’re green. They only changed to silver after—” Shit, he’d have to be honest, even though the Seer already knew. “—after I killed a man.”
“Do you regret that?”
“Fuck no! Not the first one. The Bastard killed my brother. He’d done worse to him and to others. He deserved to die.” The response burst from him before he had time to wonder why Pretto suddenly wanted to talk about ancient history. “He won’t hurt another child.” He took a deep breath, settling the anger and fear and sorrow that always erupted when he thought of what the Bastard had done to him.
“So you avenged them and protected others.”
Checa stayed silent. He’d spent months explaining why he’d done what he’d done when it had happened. He didn’t need to go through it again.
“What about the second one?”
“The second was an accident. The idiot came at me from behind after he’d gone down.” The Bastard always hit him from behind when he intended to hurt him badly. Checa had reacted instinctively, even though he’d killed the Bastard years before. “That one I regret.” The guard had ignored training rules and wouldn’t accept that he’d lost, but he hadn’t deserved to die.
Pretto nodded and pursed his lips. The light caught the pink gloss, making his lips appear fuller. Checa looked away. “Have your eyes changed to silver since?”
“Only once,” Checa responded grudgingly, then stood tall, defying what Pretto called his destiny. “I’m not going to keep killing people just so my eyes stay silver.”
E E Montgomery
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